June 15, 2015
By Lee Smith
A year ago the Islamic State first made headlines around the world by storming Mosul and conquering Iraq’s second-largest city. President Obama pledged to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the organization. Here we are a year later, and with ISIS now holding more territory—including other Iraqi cities like Ramadi—the Obama White House has yet to figure out how to degrade, never mind destroy, the organization. As Obama said last week at the end of the G7 summit in Germany, “We don’t yet have a complete strategy.”
Sending an additional 450 U.S. military advisers to Iraq, as the White House announced last week, is not a strategy, but a quick political fix meant to stifle domestic critics of the administration’s ramshackle Middle East policy. Indeed, the number of troops the president might send to Iraq is irrelevant until he defines what would constitute victory over the Islamic State.
The Bush administration’s Iraq surge succeeded not just because the United States sent an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq, but also because U.S. commanders partnered with the Sunni Arab tribes against the foreign fighters who made up Al Qaeda in Iraq. Obama could send the same number of troops to Iraq, or many more, and the White House would still not be able to win back the Sunni Arab tribes, because the difficulty in defeating ISIS is not simply one of troop strength. More fundamentally, it’s about policy...
Read the full article at the Hudson Institute: The Iran-ISIS Connection